With the Russians’ growing control over Ukraine’s airports and airspace, Poland became the hub for the transport, by land, of arms and military equipment intended for the Ukrainian army and resistance fighters.
“Poland and Ukraine have a border of almost 550 kilometers. So the transition is easy. Without wanting to confirm it to you, it seems logical to me that the equipment promised to Ukraine arrives via the west of the country, coming from the Polish roads”, indicates in an interview Michael Boire, retired major and professor specializing in the war in urban setting at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston.
On Sunday, European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told media that Poland had agreed to be the hub for the distribution of arms and equipment to neighboring Ukraine. EU defense ministers are due to discuss the details of this action shortly.
Recall that in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last Thursday, a slew of Western countries have promised the delivery of additional equipment. The United States leads the way with a pledge worth US$350 million. The EU refers to an effort of 450 million euros, adding that member states are ready to provide combat aircraft.
Canada, which puts its commitment at 25 million CAN, has promised weapons and more protective equipment such as helmets and bulletproof vests. The Department of National Defense of Canada recognizes in very generic terms the upcoming shipment of military equipment to Ukraine.
“The Canadian Armed Forces can confirm that flights carrying lethal and non-lethal military equipment will be departing in the coming days to provide additional support to Ukraine, as recently announced by the Government of Canada. -on indicated by email. We are working diligently with our other government partners to ensure that this much-needed support gets to where it is needed as quickly as possible. »
Between theory and reality
In an interview given Monday to the newspaper 20 minutesFrench General Vincent Desportes, professor of strategy at Sciences Po and HEC Paris, argued that there was a margin between designating a hub for the delivery of equipment and reality.
The question of logistics is a major problem. The weapons have to arrive in trucks, probably those of NATO, to Poland, to be unloaded, then loaded into Ukrainian trucks. The Russians are following this closely and could attack these trucks on Ukrainian soil.
Vincent Desportes, professor of strategy at Sciences Po and HEC Paris, in an interview with the newspaper 20 minutes
According to FinancialTimesdelivery operations must take into account that trucks are likely to be easy targets and that it will take some imagination to confuse the Russian invader.
“Trucks should avoid driving in convoy, bumper to bumper, and move at varying paces in order to be difficult to trace and attack,” reads the text. They will also have to carry weapons such as Stinger missiles and multi-barrel machine gunners to counter attacks from Russian aircraft. »
Ukraine shares its border with other countries, including Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Of the three, Hungary has already made it known that it refuses to be a transition point for Western armament to Ukraine. “We will not allow the transfer of lethal weapons through Hungarian territory,” Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Facebook. “These deliveries can easily become targets of military attack. »
However, the country has opened its border to welcome Ukrainian refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 85,000 people have been taken in by Hungarians since the outbreak of hostilities.
In Romania, the United States has recently stepped up its presence at the Mihail-Kogălniceanu military base, located near the border with Bulgaria, and is said to have transported there, in 3 convoys, 48 trailers filled with military equipment.
This material is not necessarily intended for Ukraine. With this gesture, NATO is above all trying to solidify its easternmost flank, bordering the Black Sea, where the Russian naval presence is dominant.
Effective or not?
Will all these recent announcements about sending equipment to Ukraine change anything in the conflict? Not sure.
“We haven’t seen everything yet,” says Michael Boire. The meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian delegations on the border with Belarus allows the Russians to take a logistical break. According to him, the Russian strikes can be much heavier than those seen so far.
According to Julian Spencer-Churchill, assistant professor in the department of political science at Concordia University, the equipment sent will do little damage. “It represents less than 1% of losses among the enemy,” he said. The artillery, the aviation make definitely more victims. »
With Agence France-Presse, 20 minutes, FinancialTimes